London

31 October 2012

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Lot 142

1998 Ferrari F300 Formula One Racing Car

  • Chassis no. 183

Sold for £400,000


805 bhp, 2,996 cc dual overhead camshaft V-10 engine, seven-speed sequential button-shift gearbox, independent front and rear pushrod-activated torsion arm suspension, and four-wheel ventilated carbon-ceramic composite disc brakes. Wheelbase: 116.25 in.



• Ex-Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine; the third of nine built

• Engine and transmission rebuilt in 2009; Ferrari Classiche certified

• Early Rory Byrne-designed F1 Ferrari

• The penultimate chapter to Ferrari’s millennial F1 dominance



The 1998 season saw Ferrari take the penultimate step towards its re-ascendancy in Formula One racing. In the years since its last Constructors Championship of 1979 and its last Drivers Championship of 1982, the Ferrari Scuderia had at first struggled, and then it increasingly dedicated itself to re-establishing its onetime dominance in the sport. Key to this pursuit, of course, was hiring back-to-back championship driver Michael Schumacher away from Benetton in 1996. Schumacher would go on to take the Scuderia to unprecedented heights in the 2000s with a run of six consecutive winning seasons.



In Schumacher’s initial years with Ferrari, the car itself still required some development to contend with rivals such as Williams and McLaren. Seeking to address the car’s deficiencies, in 1997, Ferrari lured designer Rory Byrne out of retirement to replace the departed John Barnard. Though Byrne initially worked to develop Barnard’s 1996 F310 into the F310B for the 1997 season, rule changes following the season’s conclusion, mandating an all-new car for 1998.



On 7 January 1998, Ferrari invited over 800 journalists to Maranello to preview the new car, which was surprisingly dubbed the F300. Michael Schumacher, co-driver Eddie Irvine, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, and Scuderia Manager Jean Todt were all on hand to present the F300, which employed a new engine in the Tipo 047 V-10. Byrne’s design featured several alterations to the aerodynamics of the F310B, including more sculpted air intake panels that commenced several inches closer to the front of the car. These and other aerodynamic innovations are often credited as the basis of the championship cars that soon followed.



Though McLaren won the first two races of 1998, Ferrari bounced back with new Goodyear tyres and some tweaks to the car to take the season’s third race at Argentina. Thus, a close competition ensued for the remainder of the season, with Ferrari narrowly finishing 2nd to McLaren in both the Drivers and Constructors Championships. Despite the seeming setback, the lessons learned propelled the Scuderia to the Constructors Championship the following season in 1999, beginning the historic run of consecutive winning seasons, with Mr Schumacher only losing the Drivers’ title because of a broken leg that forced him to miss several races. His return in 2000 marked the beginning of five consecutive Drivers Championships and the continuation of Ferrari’s still-unequalled run of consecutive Constructors Championships.



Chassis number 183 is believed to have completed assembly on 11th February 1998 and is the third of just nine total F300 examples built. The car claims the worthy distinction of being one of the principal test cars employed by Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine during the model’s early proving sessions at Fiorano and Mugello in February 1998. According to original press releases from the FIA, 183 made its first appearance on 13th February 1998, tested by driver Eddie Irvine at Fiorano.



Following the loss of the season’s initial two races to McLaren, 183 underwent testing with the new Goodyear tyres at Barcelona on the 3rd of April, driven by Schumacher. The results of this testing translated to a win on the 12th of April at the Grand Prix of Argentina, Ferrari’s first victory of the season. During the week of the 17th of April, this car was extensively tested by Mr Irvine at Fiorano, in preparation for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, at which Mr Schumacher finished 3rd. It is believed that the car was also used for testing later in the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix in August and at the Japanese Grand Prix in November.



Sold from the Ferrari factory by the mid-2000s, 183 was acquired by Pietro and Marco Tognoli, who took the car to Ferrari F1 Clienti events in 2006 and 2007. Approximately one year later, the car was purchased by its current owner and subsequently treated to a full engine rebuild in early-2009. On the strength of this work, the consignor was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2009, where the brutally fast race car performed faultlessly. Later that month, the seven-speed sequential gearbox was significantly overhauled, a process that included changing all the fluids, magnafluxing the parts, and changing the ratio of two of the gears. In 2011, 183 participated in several Ferrari F1 Clienti events, including the meets at Mugello on the 7th of April, Imola on the 15th of June, and the Ferrari Finals on the 6th of November. The car once again performed faultlessly during a recent run at the Modena test track, and a video of the test is available at rmauctions.com.



Thanks to the 2009 restoration of the powertrain, 183 promises the future ownership continued mechanical reliability and prodigious power at track days and Ferrari-sanctioned events. Only 666 kilometres have accrued since the engine was rebuilt and only 502 kilometres since the transmission was freshened. This F300 is accompanied by its Classiche certificate. As Ferrari F1 Clienti services has recommended a new round of freshening at 1,400 kilometres, this car’s next caretaker can expect more than 700 kilometres of racing thrills and Formula One power before further mechanical work should be required.



Eminently rare and forever tied to one of racing’s all-time greatest legends, the extraordinary Michael Schumacher, 183 is a verifiable Scuderia collectable, significant in provenance and design. It offers long-term appreciation as the immediate antecedent of one of Formula One racing’s greatest championship runs, and it can also be enjoyed first-hand as a breath-taking demonstration of the amazing technical specifications and unbridled power of a genuine late-1990s Ferrari F1 car.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more